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Peanut Butter Does Take Gum Out of Hair by Ann Treacy
March 30, 2008, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Aine stuck gum in my hair today. She didn’t stick it in ends of my hair – no way. She chunked it right on my part.

Thankfully Kate, who spends more time on hair than any other 8 year old I know was able to get it out with peanut butter.

The good news is that we don’t have to buy Aine a prom dress as she is now grounded for the next 20 years! (Unless I can get her married off by age 16.)



Wednesday in London by Ann Treacy
March 30, 2008, 7:52 pm
Filed under: London

Wednesday was our last day in London. It was a fun but hard vacation. We were all a little sick, which made things hard. Our room was tiny – a double bed and a single for 5 of us. The hotel was farther away from the Tube station and the action than we wanted.

On the flip side we saw a ton! And I know it won’t be 15 years until the next time I’m in London.

Wednesday morning we went to the Natural History Museum. It rocks! Again I was amazed by the numbers of people going through the door. There was a steady stream of going through the door the whole time we were there. But the place is huge so, it didn’t seem too claustrophobic.

We took some video and pictures so I won’t say much more about it. We want our cousin Molly to know that we thought of you the whole time.

After the museum we had a final lunch with Patrick’s brother John.



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Tuesday in London by Ann Treacy
March 30, 2008, 7:15 pm
Filed under: London

On Tuesday we went to the Tower of London. It was a huge reminder to me of just how many tourists visit London. It was packed – and while it was during the Easter Break, it was hardly the height of tourist season. In fact the number of people was kind of overwhelming for me.

Patrick took the guided tour of the Tower. The girls and I walked around on our own a little more. We saw the crown jewels. The girls really enjoyed that part. We also toured the torture tower. We were surprised to learn that Jane Grey was beheaded on Kate’s birthday – February 12, which is also Lincoln’s birthday. Jane Grey was married to Henry VIII for nine days. She was 16 years old.

We also learned that there is a superstition that says that the Tower will collapse if the ravens leave the Tower – so they clip the wings to keep them local. I included a video of a raven because I was surprised to hear that they sound like pigs!

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Tuesday night Patrick’s mom kindly watched the girl and we headed out. We went to the Absolut Ice House off Regent Street – pretty touristy but fun. It’s entirely made of ice. It’s like getting a drink at the ice castle. After that trekked all over the city and landed at the Old Vic, a theater where Guthrie was involved.

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Monday in London by Ann Treacy
March 29, 2008, 7:05 pm
Filed under: London

All day on Monday we took the Hop On Hop Off Bus tour in London. If you are ever in London for a short visit and want to get a good lay of the land I strongly recommend the on-off bus tour. You can see a ton – plus you can stay pretty warm and dry is the weather is less than perfect.

We did see everything. I will post the pictures and videos below and spare you the laundry list. Here are a few of the things we got of the bus to see:

  1. An abridged view of the changing of the guard – abridged because it was too crowded to see too much and it was rainy so they didn’t wear the big beefeater hats.
  2. Speaker’s corner in Hyde Park. A fun area on a Sunday where self-selected speakers literally stand on their soap box waxing eloquently on whatever strikes them.
  3. We walked from Trafalgar Square to Picadilly Circus, down Oxford Street to the Disney shop – a big highlight for the kids
  4. We had an almost OK lunch in a pub called Sherlock Holmes. Kate loved the custard dessert.
  5. The National Gallery – we saw Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Virgin on the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci.

One funny story about the picture of the girls in the phone booth, which I insisted on getting… I pushed them into the phone booth completely forgetting who advertises in the phone booth – let’s just say it’s the kind of girl you could call for a visit day or night. That ought to cinch my mother of the year award!



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Easter in London by Ann Treacy
March 29, 2008, 2:36 pm
Filed under: London

We woke up to snow on Easter in London. It was actually quite a good snowfall, but nothing stuck. We had a nice visit with Patrick’s brother John. He lives near Earl’s Court, which is a nice area. It was fun to see John; he hadn’t seen him in probably 5 years.
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After visiting with John we headed to Camden Market, which was the one thing (after the Tube) that I really wanted to while we were in London. The market, if you haven’t been, is a big old market with tons of clothes and other trendy items. The big girls and I trekked around while Patrick, Irish Grandma, and Aine enjoyed soup in a nearby pub. (I should mention that the weather was not stellar and we were all sick during our trip. Aine especially seemed to lack a lot of energy, which meant we carried her a lot!) Lily got a couple of very unique pins. I liked checking out the fashions. We saw a couple of good Mohawks.

There was a big fire in Camden a couple of months ago – so a portion of the market that (as I recall) had antiques and furniture was closed but we didn’t mind.
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After Camden we went to Covent Garden- a whole different scale of market. It’s not so markety or affordable but there are plenty of buskers (street performers) that are fun to watch. We were pretty tired hungry and very crabby in Covent Garden. We tried to find a place where we could all eat (no kids allowed in several places) when we finally found a very nice restaurant – Tutton’s. It ended up being the nicest place we ate in London – and it was very nice.

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After Covent Garden we trekked up to Trafalgar Square, which was a fun walk. The closest thing we cam to church was the sermon in the background of the video below. I have to say that I appreciate the fact that no one mentioned this even though I know at least one person would have gone to Mass if left on her own.



Going Underground by Ann Treacy
March 29, 2008, 12:18 pm
Filed under: London

If I could spend my whole vacation on the Tube, I would. I love the London Underground. I love the fact that you can get from one place to another with very little hassle. I love watching the range of people who take the train.

Unlike the bus in Dublin – loads of people from all walks of life take the Underground- because the traffic on the road is generally so bad that it’s slower to drive or take a taxi.

It took about 2 minutes of looking at the Underground Map for it all to come back to me. It’s like a great game: you’re in Fulham Broadway. Only the District line runs through Fulham. You need to get to Camden on the Northern Line. What is the quickest/easiest way to get from A to B.

To make the challenge even more fun for me I had a couple of barriers added to the route planning. Several of the main lines were shut during the Easter break for engineering improvements. Some of the closures were well marked; some weren’t. Also Patrick’s mom won’t go down escalators. Up is OK; down is a no go. I won’t go beyond the second rung of a ladder so I say nothing about her lifestyle choice here.

One particularly challenging moment came in Great Portland Street. We had all just gotten off a bus tour. Patrick and the girls were woken up to get off. So he was carrying Aine. We couldn’t get to the Bakerloo or Jubilee lines because that required a down escalator. We asked the young and huge Underground worked what our options were. He didn’t seem to understand that walking the 5 minutes to the next station was not an option for us. So, I found a way for us to take the one train that didn’t require an escalator, avoid the closed lines and get home in fewer than 4 trains! I was dismayed when the next station we visited didn’t have an elevator either – but they closed one of the 3 escalators so that Patrick’s mom could walk down to the platform.

You may think that I’m being sarcastic but I’m not when I say I love the Tube so much that this was all kinda fun for me. (I may have been alone on that one.)

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Arrived in London by Ann Treacy
March 23, 2008, 10:06 am
Filed under: London

We arrived in London late on Saturday night. They don’t give out any free drinks on Aer Lingus – none. When I asked for a Diet Coke, he stewardess explained this since she noticed I had an accent – which she noted as if my accent indicated that I was stupid – which of course annoyed me since I thought it was their policy that was stupid, especially after we left an hour late for an hour-long flight.

We got off the plane, onto a train to Paddington, Tube to Embankment, Tube to Earl’s Court, taxi to the hotel. It was too late to get food so we ordered terrible food from some takeaway. (I think it was called shoe leather burgers.)

Everyone is sick. Everyone is tired. We have a double bed and a twin bed for 5 of us. We woke up Easter morning and it was snowing!!

We just had breakfast and we’ll be heading to Patrick’s bother’s place in about 20 minutes. After that the girls and I are hoping to head to Camden Market – but Patrick is vying to get us all to church. We’ll see who wins that one. I’m trying to convince Patrick that stopping by Speaker’s Corner would be like church since I’m pretty sure there will be a minister of something there.

But things are looking up since there’s a Sponge Bob marathon on TV this morning. It’s all Sponge Bob, all the time.
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Dinner at the Roches by Ann Treacy
March 23, 2008, 8:30 am
Filed under: Dublin

Patrick’s advisor Tony Roche has us over for the nice dinner again. The guests were Katy Hates (Tony’s wife and an author in her own right), Tom Redshaw from St Thomas, Andrew Carpenter from UCD, and Lucy Collins of UCD.

I wore my new skirt, which I had only worn once before. As luck would have it, the other time I wore the skirt I met Lucy and Andrew. I’m sure that has been the source of much gossip around UCD and will probably cause them to grade Patrick’s PhD lower.:-)

We had a very nice time – with some fun heated discussions at the dinner table. And I think it was nice for Patrick’s future to see what a connection he could be between UCD and St Thomas.

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St Patrick’s Day by Ann Treacy
March 22, 2008, 12:29 pm
Filed under: Dublin

As you might imagine, St Patrick’s Day is a big deal here. I was surprised how much bigger a deal it was than the last time I was here 15 years ago.

We started our day by using the free fun fair ride tickets we got at the scavenger hunt. Then we headed in to the parade. It was packed!

Somehow we mentioned to get a place where, if the girls balanced on the edge of a store window and me, they could see the parade. I was pretty impressed. There are marching bands – but there were also a number of cool float type things. I took a load of pictures. Most of the pictures do not include us – just the parade. Also a little luck went into the pictures since I had to hold the camera way over my head to get any shots.

We stayed at the parade for about 90 minutes. We left a little before it ended. We were with Patrick’s Michael and some of his colleagues from Canberra. We snock down a few back alleys and found ourselves out near Christ Church – still on a parade route but not so much in the thick of it. We were starving and our timing was perfect as we got a table at a pub on the parade route. We couldn’t believe it.

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We had a nice (not too healthy) lunch at the pub. Then we headed to the Guinness Storehouse. Rumor had it that there was a big festival there too.

Well we got a little worried when we walked into the Storehouse (by walked I mean paid to visit). We got a tour of the Guinness factory, which was cool but not super fun for all ages – though pretty cool. After the tour the 2 Guinness drinkers got their samples and we decided to head for the 7th floor.

The 7th floor is all windows and looks out over the City. It is amazing – and worth slogging through the Guinness stuff. Also once we got to the upper floors we found the festival stuff. Kate and I chowed on the free smoked salmon.

We saw band or two, hung out for a while and eventually went home. I could see that if you didn’t have kids you could spend the rest of your night here.

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Sunday in Kilkenny by Ann Treacy
March 18, 2008, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Kilkenny

Sometimes I wonder why we ever try to leave Dublin. It rarely works out as we intended. Patrick’s brother Michael is in town from Australia. He has a car. So we headed to Kilkenny. Actually I’ve missed an important fact, Patrick had set up an interview with some woman in Kilkenny and apparently the rest of us were along for moral support.

Kilkenny is about a 2 hour drive away. We were almost there when Aine threw up all over herself and me. And I mean really threw up! You can’t necessarily stop right away so we drove until we ran into a hotel – where we went in and tried to clean up. About the only good thing I can say – is somehow she missed my hair entirely.

So we got back into the car, drove around town and eventually ended up in a mall to get new clothes. I was so soaked, I had to think about whether I needed to buy a new bra! Apparently Kilkenny doesn’t take credit cards – luckily we had cash but we spent way more money than we wanted on our trip and of course if always hurts more whne it’s cash.

Then we had 1 hour to spare before we dropped Patrick off about 15 minutes out of the city for his interview. So, we had a very OK quickie lunch. We dropped off Patrick and headed back to town to tour the Kilkenny Castle.

Unfortunately the castle was booked out – although we did manage to take an unsanctioned mini tour of the old part of the castle, which was very cool. I’m not always as interested in the restored portions as I am the medieval roots of the castle. Also I’m not entirely sure that the guides would have let us be as free with the cameras as we let ourselves be.

The Castle grounds are beautiful – unfortunately the playground area was mostly off limits. It had been cordoned off.

So that took up some time. We were waiting for Patrick to phone when he was done with his interview. He hadn’t called yet. So we looked for someplace to get a treat. Unfortunately Patrick left me with NO money, which was very awkward but it turns out it didn’t matter that much.

Most coffee shops were closed. We started looking for a place just as a big hurling match ended so everywhere was packed. We found a place in a hotel, but after 15 minutes of no one approaching us (and given the fact that I had not money) I suggested we go back towards the house where Patrick was.

So we drove back and there was an Italian restaurant – but apparently they didn’t have dessert. So we hung around until Patrick called (after his 3 hour interview) and then we went home. Patrick’s brother is a very good sport to driven him around like that and to get stuck with us.
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